New Religions in the Republic of Italy

  • Michael W. Homer
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


Italy provides one of the friendliest environments in continental Europe for new religious movements. While France, Belgium, and Germany have legitimized religious stigmas and placed restrictions on both old and new religious movements, Italy has become a trendsetter in creating laws and procedures that foster religious liberty in its increasingly pluralistic society. Italian courts have struck down the application of laws enacted before the fall of fascism, and they have reported opinions favorable to movements like The Family, the Unification Church, and the Church of Scientology. Despite the strong influence of the Catholic Church, anticult movements in Italy are small and have no significant influence on government policies. One religious scholar (Introvigne, 2002, p. 8) has recently observed that so far the Italian legal model for protecting religious minorities has exceeded the “wildest dreams” of sociologists who are convinced that converts to new religious movements make “rational choices” in a “religious marketplace.”1


Religious Freedom Religious Minority Religious Movement Religious Liberty Religious Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

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  • Michael W. Homer

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